Community pharmacies administered over 800,000 flu vaccines this winter, according to figures released by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
The number of flu jabs provided in community pharmacies reached 814,534 during 2016/17 – an increase on the previous year.
The highest number of vaccinations in a month took place in October, when 281,387 people received the vaccine in pharmacies.
On 1 March, secretary of state for health David Mowat cited the successful vaccine uptake as one of the ways in which community pharmacy has played an integral role in the NHS this winter.
Community pharmacies became part of the influenza vaccination service in September 2015 as part of the 2015/16 community pharmacy funding settlement agreed with NHS England.
Since then, pharmacies in England have been able to offer a flu vaccination service for patients in at-risk groups. In May last year, NHS England announced that the programme would be recommissioned for the 2016/17 flu season.
Contractors providing the service are paid £7.64 per administered dose of vaccine plus an additional fee of £1.50 per vaccination (£9.14 in total).
Pharmacy-given flu vaccines by month:
September 2016 – 241,804
October 2016 – 281,387
November 2016 – 94,449
December 2016 – 23,783
January 2017 – 5,318
February 2017 – 1,230
Public Health England is expected to release the efficacy rate of the 2016/17 flu vaccine in the coming months. It is hoped that the success rate will be higher than 2014/15 when the main flu strain mutated from the type that was chosen for the vaccine.